Monday, 20 December 2021

HNL Round 20 Recap: Hajduk and Osijek Draw at Sold Out Poljud, Dinamo Moves to 1st

December 20, 2021 - The 20th round of the Croatian First League was held from December 17 to 19, 2021. This round featured a sold-out derby between Hajduk and Osijek at Poljud Stadium, while Dinamo's victory pushed them into first place in the final round before the winter break. Here's our HNL round 20 recap. 

Slaven Belupo v. Lokomotiva (2:1)

Belupo and Lokomotiva opened the 20th round in Koprivnica on Friday, December 17, 2021. 

Krstanovic scored a penalty in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for 1:0 at the half. Dabro equalized for 1:1 in the 48th minute. Mario Marina put Belupo back in the lead for 2:1 in the 78th minute, which was the final score. 

 

Belupo is currently in 8th place with 19 points, while Lokomotiva is in 6th with 24. 

Gorica v. Šibenik (2:3)

Gorica and Šibenik met in Velika Gorica on Saturday, December 18, 2021, in front of 556 fans. 

Lovric scored the match's opening goal for 1:0 Gorica in the 12th minute. Jakolis equalized for 1:1 in the 30th. Delic put Šibenik in the lead in the 51st minute, while Stojanovski equalized in the 68th minute. Jakolis scored the winning goal for the final 2:3 Šibenik. 

 

Gorica is currently in 5th place with 29 points, while Šibenik is in 7th with 22. 

Rijeka v. Istra 1961 (1:0)

Rijeka and Istra met in the Della Ucka Derby on Saturday, December 18, 2021.

Obregon scored the match's only goal in the 82nd minute for the final 1:0 Rijeka.

 

Rijeka is currently in 2nd place with 40 points, while Istra is in 9th with 18.

Hr. Dragovoljac v. Dinamo (0:2)

Dragovoljac and Dinamo met in Zagreb on Sunday, December 19, 2021. 

Peric scored for 0:1 Dinamo in the 17th minute. Andric increased the lead to 0:2 in the 68th minute for the final score. 

 

Dragovoljac is in the last with 7 points, while Dinamo is in 1st place with 40 points (and one match in hand). 

Hajduk v. Osijek (0:0)

Hajduk and Osijek closed out the 20th round on Sunday, December 19, 2021, in front of over 30,000 fans at Poljud Stadium. 

While the game ended without goals, Osijek was awarded a penalty in the 13th minute. Bohar scored his first attempt, which the ref discounted and made him. retake. Lovre Kalinić was brilliant in goal with a save on his second attempt to keep the score even. 

Osijek coach Bjelica was sent off with a red card in the 70th minute. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 4th place with 35 points (and one match in hand), while Osijek is in 3rd place with 40 points. 

You can see the HNL standings HERE.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 6 December 2021

Croatian Cup Semifinal Draw: Osijek, Rijeka, Gorica, and Hajduk Learn Opponents

December 6, 2021 - The Croatian Cup semifinal draw was held at the Croatian Football Federation headquarters on Monday. 

In the Croatian Football Cup semifinals, Rijeka will play against Osijek at Rujevica Stadium and Hajduk will face Gorica at Poljud, according to the draw held on Monday in Zagreb.

The semifinal matches will be played on March 1 and 2, 2022. There were no top seeds in the draw and the semifinals will be played in one match.

The Cup final will be played on May 22 next year at Poljud Stadium in Split.

This is a great opportunity for Hajduk, which has played 19 consecutive Cup games away. Hajduk last won the Cup in 2013, which is also the last trophy for the Split club. Hajduk has the chance to play two home games in the Cup and a historic opportunity for their first trophy in eight years. The last time Split hosted the Cup was in March 2016 in the semifinal match against Dinamo.

The Rijeka and Osijek match will certainly be a bit more competitive, though Rijeka will have the home pitch advantage. 

Split will be the seventh different host of the final match for the Croatian Cup since the decision was made in 2016 that only one match will decide the winner of this trophy. The hosts of the previous six finals were Osijek, Varaždin, Vinkovci, Pula, Šibenik, and Velika Gorica.

Recall, in the quarterfinal matches which were played on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, Gorica topped Istra on penalties, Hajduk beat Lokomotiva 6:3, and Osijek beat Belupo on penalties. In the last quarterfinal, Rijeka knocked out Dinamo 3:1, which forced the resignation of Dinamo coach Damir Krznar. 

The sports betting company SuperSport became the title sponsor of the Croatian Football Cup this year. The most massive football competition thus bears the name SuperSport Croatian Football Cup for the 2021/22 season.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 2 December 2021

2022 Croatian Cup Final to be Played at Poljud Stadium in Split

December 2, 2021 - After the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup quarterfinal matches came to a close on Wednesday, the Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation decided that the Croatian Cup final match would be played in Split, namely at Poljud Stadium.

This season, the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup final will be played at Poljud Stadium, which is comforting news for Hajduk fans after the Split club advanced to the semifinals with a victory against Lokomotiva Tuesday. The Croatian Football Federation decided on Poljud after choosing between Karlovac, Koprivnica, and Split, reports HNS.

At the suggestion of the HNS Competition Commission, the Executive Board of the Federation decided that the final of the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup will be played at the Poljud Stadium in Split and that the final match will be played on May 26, 2022. It will be the first Croatian Cup final at Poljud played in a single game.

On Monday at 11 am, the draw will decide which pairs are in the semifinals. Gorica, Hajduk, Osijek, and Rijeka remain in the competition, and the matches are scheduled for March 2022. 

After the draw at noon, Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić will meet with HNS president Marijan Kustić at the federation's headquarters on Vukovarska, a year after meeting with his predecessor Davor Šuker, when he said he would "leave the federation alone," reports 24 Sata

Since 2016, when the Croatian Cup changed the format and one final match was introduced, the Cup final has been hosted by Osijek, Varaždin, Vinkovci, Pula, Šibenik, and Velika Gorica.

Recall, in the quarterfinal matches which were played on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Gorica topped Istra on penalties, Hajduk beat Lokomotiva 6:3, and Osijek beat Belupo on penalties. In the last quarterfinal, Rijeka knocked out Dinamo 3:1, which forced the resignation of Dinamo coach Damir Krznar. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 14 November 2021

1:0 at Poljud: Croatia Qualifies for 2022 World Cup in Qatar!!!

November 14, 2021 - It was the match of the year and the biggest since Croatia made it to the 2018 World Cup final. With a 1:0 win against Russia at Poljud, Croatia qualifies for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!

The Croatia national team played their final 2022 World Cup qualifier against Russia at a rainy Poljud Stadium in Split on Sunday.

30,257 fans were at Poljud, with around 500 Russia fans. Croatia needed a victory to win first in the group and qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. All Russia needed was a draw. 

Coach Zlatko Dalić decided to start Dejan Lovren and Nikola Vlašić against Russia, replacing Duje Ćaleta-Car and Lovro Majer in the lineup compared to Thursday's win against Malta. 

Lineups

CROATIA: Grbić, Lovren, Gvardiol, Juranović, Sosa, Brozović, Modrić, Pašalić, Vlašić, Perišić, Kramarić 

RUSSIA: Safonov, Karavajev, Divejev, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov, Fomin, Barinov, Golovin, Ionov, Bakaev, Smolov

Recap

A slippery pitch was in no one's favor this afternoon at Poljud but Croatia came out attacking from the start. Perisic had the first shot on goal in the 5th minute.  The first corner for Croatia came in the 6th minute after Modric's ball to Sosa was deflected. 

Modric and Perisic had a quick one-two a minute later which Perisic sent to the top of the box but the wet pitch made it difficult for Vlasic to get a shot off. 

DSC_6749.JPG

Slobodan Kadic

Juranovic sent a brilliant ball to Kramaric's head in the 9th minute but the ball went to the keeper. It was the best chance of the game so far. 

Perisic and Vlasic had another chance in the 14th minute, though it was called out for a goal kick. 

The rain was relentless in the first 20 minutes as Croatia tried to maintain possession and was mostly in Russia's half. Sosa shot from 30 meters out in the 21st minute which went wide of the goal. 

A brilliant Croatia attack in the 23rd minute saw Brozovic hit just wide of the post which sent the crowd into a frenzy. A Juranovic cross found Perisic's head a minute later which swept the crossbar. 

Croatia was awarded a corner in the 26th minute. Modric went short to Brozovic who nailed the goal frame, but the Russia keeper punched the ball away to keep it 0:0.

Croatia was given another corner in the 31st minute after a Modric free kick was sent out by the Russia defense. 

Another perfect ball in by Juranic found Perisic at the near post who tried knocking it into the back of the net. The ball went out for a goal kick instead. 

Russia had a dangerous free kick in the 44th minute which was saved by Grbic. Their first corner of the game came in the 45th minute. The ref added two minutes of stoppage time and the match went into halftime at 0:0. 

The second half started with a shot from Kramaric followed by a header to the keeper one minute later. 

Croatia had a corner in the 47th minute and great chances in front of the goal but the pitch was a catastrophe, making it impossible to play. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Another brilliant attack by Croatia went out for a corner in the 52nd minute. Chance after chance and we failed to find the back of the net.

Juranovic found Kramaric down the right-wing, cut inside, and shot over the goal. Vlasic was subbed off for Petkovic in the 57th minute. 

Petkovic headed at the keeper in the 60th minute. Yet another attacking play found Brozovic who shot just wide of the post. Croatia was hungry for that goal but the adverse weather conditions did not let up. 

A Modric free kick found the head of Kramaric which also went just wide of the goal.  

Gvardiol sent a great ball in from the right wing in the 72nd minute which Petkovic headed at the keeper. 

Brekalo and Livaja went in for Juranovic and Pasalic in the 75th minute, an offensive decision by Dalic with only 15 minutes to go. 

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Slobodan Kadic

But the goal finally happened with 10 minutes to go - and it was an own goal at that. Kudryashov put Croatia ahead 1:0 in the 81st minute!!!

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Slobodan Kadic

Stanisic came on for Kramaric in the 85th minute.  

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time to the end of the match. 

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Slobodan Kadic

With a 1:0 result, Croatia goes to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!!!!

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić: "Croatia-Russia Qualifier at Poljud is Our Final"

November 13, 2021 - The Croatia national team is in Split ahead of the last 2022 World Cup qualifier against Russia at Poljud on Sunday. Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press on Saturday and agreed that the Croatia-Russia qualifier at Poljud is the final. 

After defeating Malta 7:1 in Valletta, morale is high - and a sold-out Poljud stadium is the best motivation to secure a spot at the World Cup next year in Qatar. 

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press at Poljud on Saturday to discuss the critically important match on Sunday. Only the winner is guaranteed a spot in Qatar. 

"We will see how Russia will play tomorrow. We have to be strong from the start; we know what we want. We need to be aggressive. That will be the most important tomorrow," said Luka to open the conference. 

"I know all the Russia players, and they have many young talented players as well. The ambient in Split is phenomenal, and I believe it will be that way tomorrow, and that will give us the motive to play well and bring us the win," Luka added. 

"This is football; this is sport. We believe in ourselves; we have a good team. The pitch is the only measure. We will decide on the pitch the better team. 

We knew when we saw the qualifying group that Russia would be the toughest. Tomorrow is the final, for them and for us. That makes it a different kind of game. We are the favorite in front of our fans, and we will show that on the pitch.

This is the most crucial game for us since the 2018 World Cup. This is the most important game for this team.

We are 100% focused on this game. We will show that tomorrow. Split and Poljud mean a lot. I remember the last match against Hungary, and the ambient was already there when we went to warm up. So this will be the motivation for us. 

The atmosphere is really good in the team, and of course, when we win and play well, that lifts the atmosphere. The young players have shown that we can count on them. I am pleased with the future of Croatia football," concluded Luka Modrić. 

"All players with us are in great shape. Nikola Vlašić is in much better form than the last Croatia action together. 

Russia was tough in the World Cup. A lot of players we played against at the World Cup are no longer on the team. They have many young new players now. But this is a different game than at the 2018 World Cup - this is a final," said coach Zlatko Dalić. 

"We knew this game had to be in Split due to the atmosphere and the public. However, all of our games played around Croatia have had an incredible atmosphere. I always feel good in Split, welcomed, and I am happy. I am calm and focused on tomorrow's game. 

We won't change many details in the lineup from Malta. We have a lot of good attackers. Vlašić is back; Majer had an incredible game against Malta. Pašalić is in brilliant form. But we don't want to change a lot in the lineup," added Dalić. 

"We are fighters, winners, and will do that tomorrow. But, we have to be smart," concluded Dalić. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić Believes Sold-Out Poljud is Best Croatia Motivation for 2022 World Cup

November 11, 2021 - The Croatia national football team will face Malta on Thursday night in the penultimate sprint to the World Cup in Qatar. Zlatko Dalić believes the best motivation for Croatia is a sold-out Poljud on Sunday against Russia.

There are two more games left, and Croatia has everything at its fingertips. However, the calculation is quite clear, and with the victories against Malta and Russia, Croatia will qualify for the 2022 World Cup, reports HNS.

"We know that two victories separate us from the World Cup in Qatar, and our thoughts are focused on Malta. It is an opponent that we respect to the maximum, but of course, we are the favorites in that game because we are of better quality in every segment of the game. However, we have to show that on the pitch and play a good and serious game. We have to be patient; only three points are important, how to get them is less important. So, first Malta and only then we can start thinking about Russia," points out the coach Zlatko Dalić, who faced the health problems of several players before the decisive qualifying matches.

"Yesterday, three players skipped training with the rest of the team; Brekalo, Livaja, and Sučić worked individually. We will see their condition. We took 27 players to Malta because of injuries, coronavirus tests, and we didn't want to leave anything to chance. Against Malta, we need offensive players in the first place, and in that direction, we will set up the game and determine the players who will be on the bench. So, there are no personal interests, only the interest of the Croatia national team, and qualifying for the World Cup is important. Luka Modrić? He trained, everything was fine, but of course, the virus left a little mark on him. However, I do not doubt that Luka will be OK, and if everything goes well, he will start the game against Malta." 

As much as the coach indicates that players must be armed with patience, the ideal scenario in the match against Malta would be an early goal. 

"It would be nice to open the game with an early goal, but the most important thing is not to get nervous if that doesn't happen. We had more than an hour of fighting in Rijeka against Malta, who held at 0:0 for a long time - Cyprus too, the whole half. So, we should not get nervous and panic if we don’t score a goal on time. I told the players that we have to be brave, and at the same time, I think we have to overcome all the temptations we may face. Of course, it would be nice if we secured three points as soon as possible to rest some players, but I don't think that way. We have to enter the game as men. Malta strives to outplay more than Cyprus, that is their style of play, but it is up to us to prevent their patterns through the game." 

Dalić claims that the players do not need special psychological preparation before the match against Malta. Here's why:

"If we look at our last five games, the energy is high. There are a lot of young players among us who are eager and motivated. So, you don't need a bigger motive than the World Cup and going to Qatar. It’s one thing, and on the other hand, you know if you beat Malta that a full Poljud and an atmosphere that happens maybe once in a lifetime is waiting for you. That must be the biggest motive for our players. We have to think about it, but we must not fall into the pressure trap and execute ourselves for it. Goalkeepers? We'll see. Livaković did not lose his position and our trust. At the moment, we are looking at who is in the best shape, and no one who will not play tomorrow has lost their position in the team. However, we are looking at the form and condition of the players; those who are the best and most ready at the moment will play," concluded Dalić.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Jadran Split Claim First LEN Champions League Win at Home against Dinamo Tbilisi

November 10, 2021 - Water polo club Jadran Split celebrated its first win in the LEN Champions League this season after beating Georgia's Dinamo Tbilisi in the second round on Tuesday night. 

The match began similar to when Jadran faced Barcelona in the first round. The opportunities were there, but there were no goals. Dinamo took advantage of that and took the lead with Sarić's goal, but then Bukić took responsibility and equalized to 1:1 in the fourth minute. A minute later, Delić scored and brought Jadran to the first lead of the match (2:1). Sarić equalized for Dinamo at 2:2, and Marinić-Kragić returned Split to the top with a penalty. 

In the 11th minute, Jadran finally scored with an extra man. Delić found Dobud, who scored for 5:3. In the 14th minute, Šetka scored with an extra man for the first +3 advantage of the match (7:4). Jadran managed to stop Dinamo's resistance and entered the second quarter up 10:5.

That advantage grew to 12:5 with two goals by captain Šetka in the third quarter. In the end, Dinamo came back from 15:8 to 15:11, slightly mitigating the defeat. At that moment, Jadran coach Mile Smodlaka called for a timeout. Dinamo then further reduced the result to 15:12, with Jadran conceding a series of 4 goals. Dinamo was just two goals behind at 15:13 two minutes before the final whistle. 

"I don't know; it's a shame that we allowed it at the end of this game. We need to discuss this amongst each other. Individuals put themselves ahead of the team, and that’s not good. But come on, let this be a warning to us, and maybe something good will come out of this. We started the game well, played properly, and created a great advantage, and then got into that hole," said Mile Smodlaka, Jadran's coach.

Jadran – Dinamo Tbilisi 15:13
(3:2, 7:3, 4:2, 1:6)

Split – Poljud

Spectators: 250.

Referees: Petronilli (Italy), Haentschel (Germany)

Jadran: Podrug, Burić (1), Marinić-Kragić (3), Čagalj, Z. Butić, Pejković (1), Bukić (1), Harkov (1), Delić (1), Dobud (2), Šetka (3), Dužević (2), Anić.

Dinamo Tbilisi: Razmadze, Tešelašvili (1), Dadvani, Imaišvili, Bitadze (1), Jelača (2), Adeišvili, Sarić (3), Giorgadze, Magrakvelidze (2), Vasić (4), Akvlediani, Gvetadze.

Source: Dalmacija Danas

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 8 November 2021

"First Malta, then Russia at Poljud": Dalić Readies for Croatia's Final 2022 World Cup Qualifiers

November 8, 2021 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić is maximally focused on the upcoming decisive matches for a spot at the World Cup in Qatar next year. Croatia plays Malta first away (November 11), then Russia at Poljud (November 14),

Dalić points out that the first game is the most important, reports HNS.

"We have two games ahead of us; two victories separate us from our goal. Given the state we have been in the last five games, I am optimistic. The first game that comes is always the most important. Malta is very important because, with a victory, we open the fight for first place in Split against Russia. Of course, Malta is an opponent who cannot match us, but we must be serious, patient, and responsible. Malta has been training for seven days, they want to oppose us, but if we are good, we will win. At no point do I want, nor will I talk about Russia until Split. There is no talk about Russia," says Dalić, who referred to the team's current condition. 

"Kovačić dropped out before, and we will miss him very much. Brekalo will come to the gathering, we will do an examination, and if something suspicious comes about and he is not ready, he will return to his club. Thanks to Ivan Jurić and Turin for allowing us to do that; if he is not one hundred percent ready, he will continue to recover at his club. Sučić suffered an unpleasant blow, so he will also have a check-up, and captain Modrić is much better, and we will see what will happen with him in the next two or three days. Luka had a fever; he had a virus, and couldn't compete in Real's last game. Of course, this is not an ideal situation, we will try to train him for Malta, but if he is not one hundred percent, we will not force him because we need the readiest players for Malta. However, I hope that Luka will be OK."

The day before the national team gathering, the coach subsequently sent invitations to Bruno Petković and Lovro Majer.

"We have two games ahead of us, during which we can only win. So we have nothing to defend and calculate; we need to be at a high level in the attack. Majer left a very good impression in September, then, unfortunately, he got injured, but now he is healthy and brings us more quality in that segment of the game. And Petković's quality was not disputable; it just didn't have continuity. He has raised his form in the last games, and he can help us with his qualities. We will have an exceptional 25 players; we must not allow any surprises so as not to get stuck at the last minute. Petković and Majer are in very good shape, and there were no doubts. Petković's position? In the position he plays at Dinamo. We have the best players in the world - Brozović and Modrić; he must finish for the national team, and a goal is important to us against Malta and Russia. So, Bruno will be used as a striker."

As a coach, Dalić has already led decisive matches on several occasions, so the current situation is not unusual.

"The pressure is always there, but I don't feel it. These are important matches for us because we want to avoid tough additional qualifications, but there is always pressure and desire without which you cannot work properly. We have to be ready for everything, expectations are high, but we are going step by step."

Given the frequent injuries, the coach has rotated a lot of players in the defense. But now, everyone is ready.

"And my wish is to have a standard team. In Russia, there were always eleven players who started matches, but now, I was forced to rotate due to the circumstances. We changed, we tried, it took seven days to distribute the forces. The players play from Wednesday - Sunday, viruses happen, immunity drops, fatigue occurs, and I have to take care of all that. Croatia has not been so powerful in stopper positions for a long time; we have great players in big clubs. The best ones will play, while Gvardiol has the advantage over everyone. He is left-footed and plays well at his club. And we finally have a left-footer in the position of the left stopper. We will see who will play on the right side."

Before the match against Russia, Dalić does not want to leave anything to chance.

"In Malta, for the first time in my term, we will stay there to sleep after the game. The match in Split is played at 3 pm, so we need to try to make sure that we get a good rest before Russia. We have to beat Malta, and after that, we will see what condition we are in. I really don't mean to worry about whether we will keep a player for Russia. Of course, we will rest some players in case of a favorable result, but let's not talk about Russia. I know that the focus is on that game, but for me, Russia is not a topic until we beat Malta," concluded the coach.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Largest Croatia Fan Procession Expected before Russia World Cup Qualifier at Poljud

November 5, 2021 - The largest Croatia fan procession ever is expected ahead of the Croatia-Russia World Cup qualifier at Poljud Stadium in Split on November 14. 

All available tickets for the match between Croatia and Russia have been sold. A packed Poljud of about 33,000 fans will cheer on Croatia in an attempt to win first place and secure a spot in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. That is, assuming Croatia wins in Malta three days earlier. 

Tickets went on sale October 25 at 1 pm, and hours later all tickets for the west and east stands were claimed. In the following days, tickets for the remaining sectors in the north and south stands were taken, sold from 80 to 200 kuna.

HNS announced that there will be no ticket sales at the box office and that in the coming days some free tickets may appear on the Internet if the customers who ordered them do not pay on time.

Fans who come to the match are invited to the Riva waterfront, where the largest Croatia fan procession in history, with between 20,000 and 30,000 people, is expected in honor of the 30th anniversary of Vukovar. Fans will head towards the stadium from 12:30 on November 14. Kickoff at Poljud is scheduled for 3 pm. 

All fans coming to the stadium must have an EU digital covid certificate with a valid QR code to be checked at the entrance. Certificates of vaccination or illness or various test results will not be recognized.

Children under the age of 12 do not have to have a certificate if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who has a valid certificate and a ticket, and HNS will provide rapid antigen testing to fans who do not have a digital certificate.

Tickets for the match in Malta, which will be played on November 11 at 8:45 pm at the Ta'Qali National Stadium, went on sale from Thursday at the price of 80 kuna.

In Malta, however, only people with full vaccination against the coronavirus or those who have recovered from Covid AND have received at least one dose of the vaccine are allowed. This does not only apply to children aged five to 11, who need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.

Source: 24 Sata

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Valdas Dambrauskas Named New Hajduk Split Coach

November 2, 2021 - Valdas Dambrauskas is the new coach of HNK Hajduk Split.

The club today agreed to work with Dambrauskas, who signed a contract until the summer of 2024.

Coach Dambrauskas was born in Pakruojis, Lithuania, on January 7, 1977. He has 14 years of football experience behind him. He started at the Fulham, Manchester United, and Brentford Football Academies. His first senior coaching engagement was in the Kingsbury London Tigers, which he led from 2007 to 2010.

He then worked for the next two years as the coach of the U-17 and U-19 national teams of Lithuania, and in that period, he was also an assistant coach at Lithuanian club Ekranas. In 2014 he took over the independent management of Ekranas. He soon moved to the head coach of Žalgiris, where he remained until 2017, during which time he won three consecutive titles. Before coming to Gorica, he worked as a coach of the Latvian RFS. He arrived in the HNL in February 2020 and stayed until September 2021, when he transferred to the Bulgarian Ludogorets, his last coaching engagement before coming to Hajduk.

With coach Dambrauskas arrive two assistants, 47-year-old Marius Skinderis and 36-year-old Justinas Gasiunas. Skinderis played as a defender in his senior career and played for numerous clubs from 1993 to 2010. In his coaching career, he worked as an assistant with Ekranas and Panevėžys, then as the first coach with Nevežis, and then as an assistant coach of Dambrauskas in RFS and Ludogorets. Justinas Gasiunas will be the new goalkeeper coach in the first-team staff. In his coaching career so far, among other things, he has many years of experience working at the Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. and Brentford and in the Lithuanian national team. Mislav Karoglan, Šime Veršić, and Antonio Sebežević remain in the staff of the first team as assistants.

"Valdas Dambrauskas is a coach who led very well organized and successful teams, which he upgraded with his coaching knowledge. I am convinced that he will bring us new energy and that with his knowledge and experience, he will contribute to the improvement of quality in all segments of football. It is the profile of the coach who primarily seeks to establish a positive relationship with the whole team, which we consider a fundamental prerequisite for success. He prefers to work with players of a strong character; he believes that working with such a player profile is essential for success and reaching the highest football level. I believe that in addition to all the above, in a relatively short period he will raise the level of quality of our game, the value of players, and thus give a new dimension to the team needed in the fight for trophies," said sports director Mindaugas Nikoličius.

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